Mixing one of the world’s best highliners with one of the world’s best aerobatic pilots was bound to produce a spectacle.
Alexander Schulz, with the One Inch Dreams crew, ran an 820-foot-long and 328-foot-high highline over the Cerro Tetakawi in Mexico. The line broke the world record for the longest in Latin America, and the longest to be walked with a backpack.
Flying over, under and around him was aerobatic pilot Kirby Chambliss. So what happened? We chatted with Alex to find out.
RedBull.com: Alex, tell us about the project…
Alex Schulz: Working with my teammates John and Clement of One Inch Dreams we stretched a 250m-long, 100m-high highline across the Cerro Tetakawi near the Californian border. Then Kirby Chambliss — a stunt pilot from the US — flew under the line while I was standing on it.
Only once under?
Not quite! After the first familiarization flights he went right around, in addition to twists and overhead flights — he then pulled loops around me!
How did you and Chambliss get together for this project?
I previously only knew Kirby by his legendary maneuvers during Red Bull Air Race. I was approached by the Mexican agency Altius asking if I would be interested in this line, with a picture of the spot. Definitely! Shortly before departure, the thought of including Kirby was on the table. We have often thought about how to connect slacklining with other sports, and the idea was simply awesome.
What were the biggest challenges?
For John Clemens, the construction of the line involved a lot of smuggling and climbing through wild bushes. For me, it was not to be intimidated by the aircraft. The first time Kirby flew by really fast it was a bit scary!
Also a bit of a distraction?
Yes! So a loud object is flying close to you and you have to focus on your movements and the line. But I got used to the line and could even turn sideways to consciously watch Kirby hurtling towards me.
How did you communicate with each other?
Sounds weird, but we met in person. There was no time and the radio communication was tricky. This meant I didn't always know exactly when he'd fly past the next time.
It was, but also good training for my next project. I want to reclaim the highline and water line world record. And be the first to run through a 1km-long slackline. This project is the longest highline in Latin America and the longest to be walked with a backpack.